News - Nuts boost metabolic health
The rise in obesity around the world means more and more people are developing metabolic syndrome. This is the name given to a group of risk factors that includes an apple shape body, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Recently, scientists have shown that dietary changes may help patients with metabolic syndrome shed the excess weight and become healthier. In particular, regular consumption of nuts, which are jam-packed with healthy fats and antioxidants, has been recommended to fight the abnormalities associated with metabolic syndrome.
To assess the biochemical effects of nut consumption, researchers put 22 people with metabolic syndrome on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks (30g of nuts per day) and compared them to another group of 20 patients who were told to avoid nuts. During the study, the scientists analysed a broad spectrum of compounds excreted in the patients' urine.
Interestingly, as well as confirming the beneficial effects of nut consumption in reducing markers associated with inflammation and cardiovascular risk, the scientists also discovered that the patients eating nuts had higher levels of serotonin metabolites in their urine. This may be particularly significant as serotonin is a messenger that helps decrease feelings of hunger, while increasing feelings of happiness.
Taliban S et al. Metabolomics Unveils Urinary Changes in Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome following 12-Week Nut Consumption. J Proteome Res. 2011 Nov 4;10(11):5047-58.